Monday, March 30, 2009

Raising Hell in Arizona

So, here's the way it went down.

When we moved from Texas to Arizona our new house wasn't finished yet, so we rented a place in an adjacent town. Since we officially live in The Middle of Nowhere, our new house also happened to be in a completely different county than where we were renting.

After doing my normal studious research, I discovered that I was no longer in the land of no state taxes and cheap registration. Oh, no. The move from Texas meant that registering my Expedition was no longer going to be $68. According to the great state of Arizona, by moving here, I was obligated to bend over, grab my ankles and...write a check to them for $537.

Upon learning this, I made the executive decision to let my registration expire. It made no logical sense to register my car in one county and then two months later move into my new house in another county and pay again to register my vehicle. Besides, we were moving to the new house in July and my driver's license expired in August on my birthday, so why not just take care of everything in one miserable trip to the DMV, right? Right.

If you don't know this about me already, I am nothing if not organized. I am a researcher, a list maker and I use Excel spreadsheets to help me plot Thanksgiving dinner. So, in preparation for acquiring my new Arizona driver's license, I logged on to the Arizona Department of Transportation's website and researched what I would need. Always be prepared. That's my motto.

I read every last word on that website, double checked the "Required Documents" list, the "Acceptable Forms of Identification" list and the "What New Residents Need to Know About Getting a New Arizona License" list. I opened my file drawers, retrieved the appropriate information and made myself a lovely little folder labeled, "Driver's License Documents." Ah. Nothing like the satisfaction of being organized and prepared.

Mr. Right had been informed that when he could spare the time away from work to call me, and I would meet him at the DMV with our paperwork. When the call came, I grabbed my nifty little folder, strapped The Duchess in the car and made the thirty minute drive to the DMV.

Upon arrival, Mr. Right informed me that he would stay outside and take care of getting the car inspected and registered if I would go in and take a number and work on getting my driver's license. No problem, said I!

I entered the half full lobby, took a number and waited. Surprisingly, the line went relatively quickly for a red tape choked agency run by government lackeys, and soon it was my turn. I approached the desk and stated my mission. I was told by Ms. Worthless behind the desk that I needed two forms of I.D. and to surrender my out of state license. I happily obliged. And then it happened.

Ms. Worthless looked up at me and said, "Oh. You're from Texas." "Yesssss...." I replied?

Ms. Worthless: "Well then, you're going to need another form of I.D."

Me: "Because I'm from Texas?!!"

Ms. Worthless: "Yes."

Me: "What do you have against Texas?!"

Ms. Worthless: "Texas doesn't verify citizenship and Arizona does. We have to have another form of I.D. to verify that you're a citizen."

Me: (Speechless...for a minute) "I read your entire website and it doesn't say anywhere that if I'm from Texas I need to provide another form of I.D.!"

Ms. Worthless: (As she picks up a form from her desk and pushes it towards me) "It says it right here on this form."

Me: (Looking at the suddenly produced form) "But this form is HERE. I would have to come HERE to find out that I needed another form of I.D. and then I would have to leave HERE to go get another form of I.D. and bring it back HERE and HERE is thirty minutes away from my house!"

Ms. Worthless:"I'm sorry Ma'am, but we're going to have to have another form of I.D. We're going to need your birth certificate."

This is where I ever so logically explained that in order to get the passport that was under her face, I had to prove citizenship. I also explained to her that my birth certificate did indeed show that I was born in the U.S. but did not offer any other proof that I was Me, seeing as how it had my birth name on it and not my current name. This stopped her for a second.

Ms. Worthless: "Well, but your birth certificate proves who you are!"

Me: "No it doesn't. My birth certificate shows my name as Amy Colclasure. If I come in here with two other forms of I.D. that show my name is Amy Warner, how do you know that's actually MY birth certificate?"

At this point, I'm just trying to win the point because I've already written a ginormous check to the state of Arizona to have my car registered with their sorry asses and now I'm having to deal with a low paid government asshole who is just "following the rules." I am now also speaking several decibels higher than my normal voice.

Ms. Worthless: "I'm SORRY! Those are the rules. We have to verify that you're a citizen!"


Ms. Worthless: "Those are the rules!"


This is where Mr. Right walked in. And then turned around....and walked out. Way to watch my back there, Mr. Right.

Me: (To Ms. Worthless) "You are aware, aren't you, that a birth certificate is the easiest document to forge?! Anybody can get one! ANYBODY!!

Ms. Worthless: (Obviously feeling no remorse, only a sense of sick and twisted glee) "Those are the rules."


This, Dear Friends, is where I made my graceful exit. I gathered up my inadequate documents, shoved them in my nifty labeled folder and marched out the door, screaming the entire way.

Be honest. Have you ever had one of those pivotal moments where one minute you're a completely logical and rational human being and in the very next minute, even though a voice inside your head is saying, "Shut up, shut up, shut up!!" you turn into a complete and utter idiot?

That voice is giving you the opportunity to shut your cake hole and save face, but for whatever reason, you don't hear anything other than the raging idiocy spewing out of your mouth.

If you haven't had one of these moments, you're my hero and I'm not worthy to be in your presence. If you have had one of these moments, I totally feel for you.

If, like me, you've been stricken with recurring bouts of this sometimes embarrassing and humiliating malady, I'd like to have you over for drinks.

I think we'd get along just swell.

*Footnote: Texas has indeed been verifying citizenship for driver's licenses for years. I had to provide my birth certificate in order to obtain my license there. They included that information on their website. As of January 2009, the form you must fill out for the state of Arizona in order to obtain your license, no longer lists Texas as one of the states that does not verify citizenship. For all of you incoming Texas're welcome.

Clickity Clack...I Was Quite the Brat

There is a relatively small box I just dug out of my garage which contains approximately thirty years of riff-raff and which offers a little insight into Me.

I have no idea why I held on to some of the things in The Box, and I have no idea why I hang on to them still, but it has been carried with me from place to place and through a couple of lifetimes it seems.

As I was sorting through The Box just now, I pulled out a piece of paper with actual typewriter print on it. You remember typewriters? Those archaic dinosaurs we actually used to use to write letters with? Oh, you don't remember letters you? Tsk, tsk.

A note is handwritten at the bottom of this typewritten page that says, "I wrote this on a bad morning in typing class. Mrs. Pitts gave us the stupid assignment of writing a short story and then typing it for practice. So, here's what she got. Stupid Mrs. Pitts." It's dated only, "1984." I was a sophomore in high school.

Poor Mrs. Pitts. She made the horrendous choice of marrying Mr. Pitts, knowing full well that her first name was Armand. Didn't she have any other suitors worthy of her hand? She must have really loved him to become Mrs. Armand Pitts.

By the time Mrs. Pitts had the misfortune of having me land in one of her typing classes, her hair had turned, for some odd reason, a palish sort of blue. She always wore a sweater over her shoulders and she gave the impression of possibly having been raised by Miss Manners herself.

Her fingers were long and spindly and they kind of freaked me out. She was always pointing them at me. She pointed out the fact that my nails were too long and needed to be short in order to be a typing wiz. She pointed out that I had bad posture. She pointed out that I wasn't paying attention. What was with this woman?!

Anyway, this was my short story, typed for practice:

Once upon a time there was a pretty young lady who had to go to a yucky typing class every day. This young lady was a very tolerant and peaceful girl, so she went every day without saying one naughty word.

One day, the young lady's typing teacher, The Lady With the Blue Hair, got real angry at one of her students and threw a hissy fit. This made the young lady quite upset for she hated to see anyone so out of sorts.

So, very quietly, knowing the other students hated The Lady With the Blue Hair, the young lady took the blue haired lady's letter opener and stabbed her through the back.

The whole class cheered and cheered and cheered and cheered. The young lady took over the teacher's class and they all lived happily ever after.

A short story by a Young Lady

(Amy Colclasure)

A few things occurred to me after reading this:

Number 1: I may have had some violent tendencies as an adolescent.

Number 2: I am a very speedy and accurate typist. I never took another typing class other than Mrs. Pitts'. Hmmmm. I think I owe her an apology.

Number 3: If I would have written this today, it would have been found on my hard drive by the school's Net Nanny and when I arrived in class the next day, I would have been jumped by a SWAT team, hauled to the hoosegow for questioning, booted out of school, and had my face on the local nightly news. "Local Teen and Poor Typist Arrested For Assassination Plot."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Mature Woman's Guide to Fantasy

Is it wrong that my fantasies don't involve gorgeous celebrity movie stars or even averagy-type real life men and instead involve the guy who invented the Dyson vacuum cleaner? I mean, there's a guy who really knows what a woman want and delivers!

You have to think that this guy is a real catch, right? He's a successful inventor of the world's greatest vacuum cleaner, he's real-guy cute and he has that adorable little accent that makes it impossible to understand every third word he says, but also makes me not give a damn.

A practically filterless vacuum with its only filters needing to be rinsed twice a year or so. It's light enough for a 5'4" lightweight to haul up and down the stairs and has every possible attachment necessary for keeping my home dirt and dust free. And, it's purple. *sigh*

I have a love thing for Mr. Dyson.

I also have the hots for Mike Rowe, the guy from the Discovery channel's show, Dirty Jobs. Not only is Mike kind of nerd hot and goofy, but he's perfectly willing to stick his bare hand in anything you put in front of him. This makes me believe that he would actually be game for cleaning my kids' bathroom.

I could really love a guy who would do that for me.

I don't think Mr. Right is even aware that the kids have a bathroom and I'm pretty sure he thinks that the other two bathrooms in the house get clean by way of a magic spell.

Mike, brace yourself. You're on The List.

You know what The List is, right? We all have one whether we admit it or not. You do...come on!!

The List contains the names of men that we would have a wild fling with if there were no possible repercussions of having to deal with our own guilty conscience or the possibility of being drop kicked to the curb by our spouse.

A long time ago my list included names like Tom Cruise, (This was before I knew he was a total whack job.) Andrew McCarthy (You know...the preppie lust interest of Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink?) and Andrew Ridgeley (the OTHER guy in the pop 80's group Wham!). I know...I know!
My list has definitely been through some changes over the years. The names have changed from pretty boys to swoon over in the hope that if they ever did meet me, they would find me irresistibly charming and witty, to men who will invent helpful household appliances and stick their hands in my toilets.

Jon Bon Jovi used to be on my list, but as I've *ahem* matured, he's been replaced by his bass player, Richie Sambora. Sure, Richie could lose a few pounds and get a tan, but he just seems much more interesting to me now. I saw Bon Jovi in concert a couple of years ago and found myself standing on my chair screaming at the top of my lungs, "I LOVE YOU, RICHIE!!!!" That must have been pretty. Anyway, Richie looks much more prone to getting his hands dirty and not being afraid to mess up his hair while helping clean out from under the beds.

Okay. I lied. There is a celebrity who has been on The List for a couple of years now and I'm not taking him off. It's Pierce Brosnan. Seeing as how he has like, a dozen kids, I'm pretty sure I could get him to help me move the refrigerator to clean behind it.

If not, he'll still be awfully nice to look at while I'm seductively vacuuming the house with my Dyson.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Love Story (or) The Greatest Teacher Who Ever Lived

Once again, I have been inspired by fellow bloggers. This has to say something about my own lack of creativity, right?! Regardless, because of Angela S. and Reya M., I've been thinking about my favorite teacher.

Actually, he can't even qualify as a favorite teacher. In my mind, he was a man among men. He was THE teacher.

My sister, Inga, was two years ahead of me in school, so for two years before starting high school, I made mental notes on her comments about teachers...who was tough, who was nice, who was going to throw erasers at your head. (Uh...yeah. Still didn't avoid it though.) One of the teachers she moaned about sometimes was Mr. Milliren. He was tough...brash.

By the time I'd suffered through my freshman year, it was time to choose electives for my upcoming sophomore year. Mr. Milliren taught only elective courses and you couldn't take any until you were a sophomore. The classes he taught were the most interesting to me. Psychology, Sociology, all of the ologys. And some classes on the Arts. Stuff that really flipped my trigger. So, I signed up for one of his classes with a little bit of fear in my heart.

The first day of class with Mr. Milliren my sophomore year, I was sitting near the back of the class as he read roll call. When he came to my name, he looked up over the top of his glasses and said, "Are you Inga's sister?" When I meekly replied that I was, his reply was, "Oh, boy."

Well, I wasn't quite off to the start I'd hoped for!

After roll call, Mr. Milliren stood behind his podium Dear Friends, pulpit...and proceeded to tell us a bit about himself. One of the things he informed us of was that he had served honorably in two wars. He had left the military as a decorated Major. He also informed us that we could call him Mr. Milliren or Major Milliren, but we'd better never think to call him Jim until after we'd managed to graduate. He also told us that he didn't expect many of us to do that.

I think by this time, I'd slunk down in my seat about as far as I could go. This guy was going to have a preconceived idea of who I was based on my DNA and on top of that, he didn't expect that I was going to graduate!

Major, as I decided to call him, then proceeded to pace in front of the class, talking about I don't remember what. I do remember clearly thinking to myself that this guy was totally full of crap. What he was saying was total hooey! Every once in awhile during his pacing, he would stop and look at us and ask, "Isn't that right?" or "Don't you agree?" Everyone would either nod or wouldn't move a muscle and let him continue. At one point, I'd had enough. How could I just sit there and let this blowhard blow?! So, the very next time he asked, "Isn't that right?!" I very slowly, with my heart racing in my chest, raised my hand and said, "I don't think that is right." Every single person in the classroom froze. The Major stopped dead still. He looked at me, raised his hand and pointed at me. Just as I thought I was going to pass out, he smiled and said, "I'm absolutely NOT right, and none of you little peons had the guts to say it until her!"

I think I may have let out a sound that was not unlike a hot air balloon letting gas out. After that, on my part, it was love.

Major Milliren was in his sixties. He was a solid 100 pounds overweight and was a doppelganger for an angry version of Santa Clause. He mostly wore Hawaiian shirts or shirts that looked like he'd mugged a tourist. The administration a couple of years before had made him stop wearing overalls and bandannas around his head. Damn them.

Major drove a classic old VW van that had a sticker on the back that said, "I (heart) my Labrador." I smiled every day when I pulled into the parking lot and saw that van.

Major's greatest impact as a teacher, in my opinion, was not what he taught from the books. Yes, I learned that too, but his greatest lessons were the ones he taught about being cautious of conforming and of being the voice of dissent when dissent was necessary. I think he was somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. He wanted his students to question authority if we truly felt it needed questioned. He wanted us to not follow our leaders blindly. He wanted us to question everything.

Yes, he was stern. He didn't relax the rules. He graded tough. He called a spade a spade and when you were being a little a-hole, he told you so. He was quite fond of telling those of us that had his class directly following lunch that he could smell the pot on us as we came into his classroom. I always thought that was a riot. But, Major had a heart of gold beating beneath those atrocious Hawaiian tourist shirts.

I think it was my Junior year when the Great Perm Incident occurred. My friend, Lisa, was going through beauty school and needed to practice giving a perm. Somehow, she got me to sign up for the gig. Lisa, the professional that she was, talked on the phone and smoked and got liquored up the entire time she was putting toxic waste on my head. When the cap came off, so did my hair. It was completely fried. My mom let me skip school the next day so that she could take me to a hairdresser to see if my hair could be salvaged. It had to be cut kind of Liza Minelli style, but shorter. Maybe more like Lyle Minelli. Anyway, I had practically no hair and what I did have was frizzy on the ends. I was horrified, humiliated and completely mortified to have to return to school.

My first class of the day was Major's. (By this time, I was taking every course he offered so I had him twice a day for both my Jr. & Sr. years.) Anyway, I filed into the classroom trying to keep a low profile. I'd done my makeup especially dramatic that day to try to avert attention away from my hair. (It was the 80's. Picture it. Lots of mascara.) The guy that occupied the chair next to mine was a tall beautiful football player. A guy so far out of my socioeconomic and social leagues, he might as well have been from another planet. So, of course, I took every word he said to heart. (Idiot me! Idiot!) Tall Dark and Handsome plops down in his chair and looks at me and says, in front of the entire class which had filed in by this time, "What happened? Did you get run over by a lawn mower?! (I said he was tall dark and handsome...not bright.)

What happened next will always be stamped on my brain. Major looked up then stood up from behind his pulpit. He walked around to the front of it, and right up to Tall Dark and Handsome's desk. He put his finger in the guys face and said, "Shut up! I think she looks very nice! Keep your mouth shut. Fool!"

And, that was the end of that. The tears I tried to hold back were not tears of humiliation or anger. They were tears of gratitude.

I have a multitude of stories about Major, and all of them are good. Some of them are about what he managed to teach this young, ignorant, scared girl. Some of them are about how he always came to my defense when he felt I was defenseless. He once bailed me out of getting into some major trouble for calling a student teacher an "asshole." The student teacher sent me to the office and as I was waiting for the principal to see me, Major walked in to the office and asked what I was doing there. When I told him the circumstances under which I had felt enough passion to actually swear at an adult human, he waited with me for the principal. When we got in front of him, Major told the principal that it was his opinion that no punishment was required because I had been punished enough by having to sit in class and listen to that "Asshole of a student teacher." I was let go with no punishment...just a cautionary look from the principal, and a wink from the Major. (The student teacher didn't spend another day in our school, either.)

Again, I have many stories. Most importantly though, is the impact this teacher had in my life. For a girl living in a not so functional household who lacked any self confidence, this man helped empower me. He gave me knowledge for sure. But, he also gave me confidence and self assurance.

Major retired the year I graduated. I like to think it was because after having me as a student he just knew it didn't get any better than that...but of course that's not true. He'd lived a long interesting life, had experienced love and loss, and he'd taught thousands of kids all he had to teach them.

Major's dream for his retirement was to travel. He'd been a lot of places in his life and he wanted to visit some of those again and go to some new places as well. And, so he did.

As I went off to college for my freshman year, thoughts of high school were far behind. Until a couple of months into the school year...maybe September...I ran into a friend from high school at a club off campus. He asked if I'd heard the news. No, I had not. What was it? And, through a dense horrible fog came the words, "Major is dead."

The funeral was the next day. I rushed to arrange a ride back home to attend. The funeral was held at the school auditorium. It was the only place in town large enough to hold all of the people they knew would come to pay respects to this great man. Of course, as I'm sitting here writing, the tears are welling up in my eyes, so I don't even need to explain to you how it was to sit there and mourn his loss.

At the grave site, because he had been a military officer, there was the traditional 21 gun salute. I remember with dreadful clarity listening to the sound of those rifles fire the last shots as the sky opened and poured down tears in droves.

I dreamed about The Major for many years. It was always the same dream. I was sitting on a porch in one of two swings which were facing each other. Suddenly, The Major would appear across from me. With great angst, I would desperately inquire of him if he was alright. I would frantically try to tell him everything he'd meant to me. He would say nothing and disappear.

I don't quite remember the circumstance under which I reached the point where I'd settled things in my mind enough (maybe the almost year of therapy I had in my 30's?!) to finally have The Dream.

In The Dream, it's the same as all of the other dreams with one exception. When I ask The Major if he's alright and I tell him how much he'd meant to me, he looks at me and smiles. At first, I continue to talk, trying to tell him everything before he disappears. Finally, I realize that he's sitting there calmly, just smiling. So, I sit back and relax and stop talking. We sit there and look at each other for a couple of minutes and then he stands to go. I don't want him to leave, but I see his face and he is happy and I understand that he has to go. And, he does.

That's it. I haven't had the dream since. But, I miss him still.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Audacity! And...Hopelessness.

Last night I stayed up late catching up on my reading and then decided to do a little blogging. Since we returned from California on Friday, Mr. Right has been in bed. His joints ache, his chest is congested, he feels like he has a fever (but doesn't), etc. You know, all of the things I feel when I'm sick but also don't prevent me from taking care of a toddler, doing laundry and cleaning the house.

Anyway, Mr. Right spend all day in bed on Saturday. ALL day. He emerged a couple of times for food (cookies) and drinks. Repeat on Sunday. To my knowledge, he never felt miserable enough to turn the television off and just rest. The t.v. was on in our room from sun-up to sun-down.

So, last night around 11:00 p.m. Mr. Right finally turned off the television. I was sitting on my side of the bed with the computer on my lap and my bedside lamp on. As I typed, he began to snore. That hideous growling snore he does that has a little gargling sound mixed in that makes it sound like a bear about to drown. He would stop this every couple of minutes and cough. Then he would toss and turn, bouncing me around on the bed until he came to a stop. Snore, cough, bounce. Snore, cough, bounce.

Normally, I would just get up and move to my daughter's bed, but since I was awake anyway I thought I'd just continue my typing and wait for Mr. Right to finally wear himself out and give me that little window of time I'm sometimes afforded. It's that space where the snoring and tossing and turning settle down for just enough time for me to close my eyes and click my heels and hurl myself into sleep before he starts up again.

The window never came. It was just snore, cough, bounce. At 1:00 a.m. he rolled over and said, "How long until you wrap it up?"

I didn't say a word. I just shut the computer down, turned out the light and settled in. Within one minute, the snoring, coughing and bouncing began again. This is where I started yelling at him. In my head.

"How DARE you?! How dare you have the audacity to behave as though I'm the one keeping YOU awake?! I don't EVER get to sleep without interruption and disruption! I'm the one who wakes up when The Duchess comes into our room and needs put back to bed! I'm the one who lays in bed listening to the bear beside me rumble and roar! I'm the one who is so tired in the morning when your alarm goes off that I can barely move and who is relieved when you leave for work so that I can finally get a couple hours of sleep! I'm the one who gets hassled by you for sleeping in late and teased about being a "lady of leisure" when the fact of the matter is, that I hate sleeping in and feeling like half my day has been wasted! I'm the one who has eaten nothing but vegetables for the past three days and still woke up this morning two pounds heavier and with puffy bags under my eyes! So, how ( DARE YOU ask me when I'm going to "wrap it up!!"

Boy, did I give it to him good.

It's hopeless. We've talked, several times, about the effects his snoring has on me. We've also discussed the effects it must have on him. I've discussed it with our family doctor. What it comes down to is that Mr. Right needs to make some changes. He needs to change his schedule, his eating habits and his activities. Mr. Right doesn't show any indicators that he's willing to change these things to improve his health or mine.

I can only change what I can change, so I need to work on what I can do to improve things for myself. (I'm really kicking myself for not splurging on that fifth bedroom now!)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

This and That and Then Some

Whew!! I'm back. Didn't even know I was gone, did you?! (I'll try not to be too terribly offended...) We disappeared for a few days to hit the San Diego Zoo for Spring Break, but now I'm home in my own bed (hallelujah!) and no more of that crappy on-the-road-fast-food for me.

My fellow bloggers have been busy as little bees I see! There will be a couple of late nights trying to catch up with all of the reading I have to do to see what you all have been up to in the past few days. I'm looking forward to it!

Okay. I'm having difficulty getting back into the groove. My focus is shot. I think instead of trying to expound on one subject right now, I'll just try to de-clutter my brain a bit.

*First things first. I have now been confined in enclosed spaces with Mr. Right and The Offspring for nine days straight. Please send help. Seriously. My vodka supply is dangerously low.
Spring Bust

*We decided at the spur of the moment to head to California to the "World Famous San Diego Zoo" for the kids' Spring Break. If I push out of my mind the fact that all of these animals are being held against their will in cages and completely manufactured environments, I actually kind of like going to the zoo. And...this is no ordinary zoo, it's "world famous!" I had visions of talking giraffes and of lions pacing anxiously back and forth waiting to jump over the fence to eat the first kid to make a face at it. Wrong-o. These animals didn't give a rat's ass that we'd driven for six hours in a cramped car, passed through three border patrol stops and spent a small fortune to come see them. These were the most lethargic, ambivalent and apathetic animals I'd ever seen. I had almost lost my faith in the animal kingdom when, near the end of the day, two little monkeys saw me wiping away my tears in front of their cage and took sympathy on me. They lit into an Ultimate Fighting match beyond my wildest dreams. I stood and laughed for ten minutes and then scratched my armpit as a way of saying "thank-you" before moving on to the dreaded gift shop. (Hello, Cheap Crap. Goodbye, Wallet.)

*We arrived in San Diego about 5:00 in the evening and decided that while we still had daylight, we'd take the kids to see the ocean. Our hotel room was about two miles from the beach so we changed into our swimsuits (we'll talk about that nightmare later...) and headed out. About a mile down the road, I said to Mr. Right, "Is that SMOG?!" He looked around and slowly said, "Noooooo...that's fog." I am here to testify to you that this was some of the thickest fog I've seen in my life. When we parked at the beach, we couldn't see more than a couple of feet in front of our faces. The ocean wasn't visible. At all. And, it was freezing. Maybe we should have checked the weather forecast beforehand? Duh.

See the boat through the fog? The Duchess had blue lips and the shivers after five minutes.

*Alright. I'll choke down my humiliation for long enough to tell you about The Swimsuit Incident. The last time I wore my teeny weeny hot pink and white polka dot bikini, I was deeply tanned and a few pounds thinner. Smokin'. Fade to this week, standing in a hotel room in California. Um...not so hot. I haven't been able to tan because of my surgical scars and therefore, have turned a pasty shade of white. I've also put on a few pounds. As I stood in front of the mirror in the hotel room, I realized that my bikini bottoms were almost the same shade of white as my ass. I also could not get my boobs to stay contained in my top. Every time I moved, a boob fell out. I was disgusted. I was mad. I stood there with tears in my eyes, angry at myself. A vow was made right then and there to do something about it. So far, so good. We've been home for two days and my willpower is still strong. I'm just saying "NO DAMMIT!" to all of the evil foods calling my name. I WILL see my hip bones again. Yes, I will!!

*I forgot my makeup bag. I walked out of the house, got in the car and drove to another state without a lick of makeup. Someday, twenty years from now, The Offspring will be looking through the picture album from the trip and ask, "Why didn't Mom go with us to San Diego?!" That's right. There are no pictures of Mommy.

But Mommy's feet were cute!

Sidenote: I'm on a quest to find the people who take the pictures of hotel rooms for travel websites. When I find them, I'm going to show them a picture of a nice large luxurious hotel room and tell them that this is where I'm taking them for a week. Then I'm going to take them to an old teeny tiny hotel room and stuff them all in it, kicking them each really hard before I slam the door and throw away the key card. Oh. And they will have NO access to a Diet Dr. Pepper...anywhere...and their "heated" pool will be ice cold. (How do they sleep at night?! Probably much better than I did....)

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

*I woke up for the final time Thursday morning, really mad. I'd been awake at several different points during the night because Mr. Right was snoring. There's nothing quite like being wedged into a queen size bed with a squirmy four-year old and the equivalent of a small grizzly bear. Good times. About 2:00 a.m. I'd been awakened for maybe the twelfth time and couldn't get back to sleep. So, I did what any psychotic insomniac would do. I laid in bed, half awake, plotting Mr. Right's death. I just kept thinking about how many times I've had the discussion with him about his snoring and how he's never done anything about it. In my woozy state, I thought, "How can he profess to love me?! He can't possibly snore like this, keeping me awake and wrecking my sanity and really love me!" Had it not been 2:00 a.m. I would have called my sister in Oklahoma and cried on her shoulder for an hour. Or, at least until I fell asleep.

*Have you read the article about sleep and its affect on weight loss? It's amazing. In a test study group of ten women who were having extreme difficulty losing weight, doctors took all ten and asked them all to agree to abiding by a few simple "sleep" rules. The rules included things like going to bed within ten minutes of the same time every night, getting at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, etc. After one month of following the sleep rules , all ten women lost weight. Their weight loss ranged from 5 to 12 pounds! I have ten ugly pounds to lose and haven't been able to do it. I don't sleep at night because my husband snores. Moral of the story: My husband is making me fat.


*We've lived in our new house for eight months and have been hoping, hoping, hoping that the house next to us that has been sitting empty since we've moved in would eventually house super cool neighbors. Maybe a lovely gay or lesbian couple with whom we could drink pomegranate martinis and laugh together at our collective wittiness, or maybe a hip couple our age with no babies to impede them coming to our parties and who swear a lot and worship the Stella bottle the way I do. Alas, 'tis not so. We met our new neighbors last week. I don't know who is who and what is what over there. The main guy is a tall fellow with spikey hair who wears a gold chain and drives a massive pick-up truck. The first time I met him, he engaged in conversation that included making money from at-home web porn and comments about our country no longer being free or a democracy. Dude. Your laundry is hanging out for everyone to see, and it's icky. His "wife", Marty, looks as though she expects you to elbow her in the face at any second. I don't think she said a word when Mr. Gold Chain introduced her to me. Apparently, another fellow lives there who Mr. Gold Chain refers to as his "partner." Business partner? On the Down Low partner? Partner in crime? I don't know, but Partner also drives a gigantic redneck pick-up truck. Damn. Damn!

Show Your Boobs if You Think We're in a Recession!

*Today I opened up MSN and one of the headlines read, "More women strip and make porn as economy tanks." Okay. My question is, who in the hell are these women?! Unless there are clubs that actually have Stretch Mark and Cellulite Night, I'm not getting hired on anytime soon. They must be referring to the unemployed, non-children having, tight bodied, shame-free, willing to show your tits for dollars segment of the population. Hey, I'm not knocking it. I'm just pissed they turned down my application.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Petits Morceaux de Moi, Part III

Fellow Blog Friend, Reya, wrote a post the other day that really resonated with me. If you haven't read her blog yet, you really need to get on over there. Not only are her blogs incredibly insightful but her pictures are fantabulous. You can find her at The particular post I'm referring to is called, "What Not to Wear."

While I was reading this post, it really struck me that we do indeed take on different personas throughout our lives. At least, many of us do I think. It probably took me until I was about 35 to finally find the "costume" in which I was comfortable and happy. It also made me think about the choices we have in our lives. As adults, we have the power to choose which costumes or personas we will wear. We have the ability to shed those things which have led to discomfort or unhappiness and keep those that uplift us and bring us joy. We don't have to conform or fit into any costume forced onto us by others. We don't have to impress. We get to choose who we will be and what face we choose to present to the world as "Me." Quite a liberating thought, isn't it?!

Anyway, it made me think about a poem that I wrote while I was going through a terrible time in my life. The only thing not terrible about this time was that it was the beginning of the end of wearing a costume in which I was horribly uncomfortable.


She is your friend-
Sometimes failing you miserably, as friends sometimes do, but loving you always and watching out for you. Ready to help at the drop of a hat. You've only to ask.

She is your wife-
Occasionally nagging until you shut your ears to her, but longing with wifely desperation that you'll never shut your heart.

She is the mother of your children-
Cleaning and bathing and cooking and washing and kissing wounds that will go away with a little care, and crying over the wounds she knows will never heal.

She is your lover-
A maturing version of the girl you fell in lust with years ago. Still longing to be chased and wooed and to be kissed in that spot behind the ear that leaves her weak in the knees.

All these things she is-
But if you look closely, you will see there is more than meets the eye. There… beneath the surface…look.

Do you see her?
The wild at heart, half-naked, barefoot jungle girl who dances around fires in the moonlight? The girl who laughs and lives out loud? Who loves with reckless abandon and who gives her all, asking only that in return? The girl who is part water, part sand, half goddess, half child?

Do you see her?
Can you find her somewhere beneath the layers of "office casual" clothes? Of defrosting chicken? Of baths, bedtime stories, vacuuming, ironing, budgeting, fighting?

Look closely-
If you tilt your head just right, you can see her in the morning just before the sun comes up. She will be lying next to you, eyes closed, looking very much like your wife.

Listen carefully-
Put your ear against her lips and you just may hear the sound of ocean waves crashing against the sand, and of a girl laughing in a far off place.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unmentionables and Other Things Not Worth Mentioning

Oh, hello there. How long have I been out? I must have slipped into some sort of sugar induced coma for awhile. Thanks for waking me.

Holy crap. Today was one of those days. Not anything out of the ordinary, but my internal stress level has shot up in the past few days and I have grown horns on the top of my head. Everything seems much more intense than it does normally. (Yes, you're correct. This means I'm bitchy.)

It started out fairly good. I woke up from my Flexeril induced sleep (I use the term"woke up" lightly here. It was more like rising from the dead.) feeling a little stiff, but overall, better than the past couple of days. After walking around the house for a bit I could tell that my shoulder was indeed feeling better. *sigh*

I decided to hit the mall to find a strapless bra because I'm not going to be able to wear a strap on my shoulder for awhile. Oh, and I also needed to find a green shirt so I can mingle among the Irish on Tuesday.

So, The Duchess and I headed out to get lunch and then hit the mall. When we're on a day out, she plops her headphones on and watches the d.v.d player in the back seat while I crank up the Sirius satellite and listen to Howard Stern. (Yes...I always make sure she has her headphones on before I tune in. Geesh.) Unbeknownst to me today, The Duchess had delved into her hidden stash of potato chips and had plowed through and entire bag by the time we hit the parking lot at Arby's. I must have had the radio up loud enough not to have heard the hamster-like crunching coming from the back seat.

Anyway, now she wouldn't eat a healthy meal at Arby's (Hey, don't judge me) because she'd stuffed herself with potato chips. So, I hurriedly inhaled a sandwich and we made our way to the mall.

I HATE bra shopping. I hate it even more when I can't put on the damn bras by myself. Due to the nature of my wound, I can't contort myself into the pretzel-like position required to fasten and spin and hoist a bra into position.

That's where Maryanne comes in. Poor Maryanne. In a valiant effort to earn her commission, she put on a brave face and proceeded to push and pull and heave my bosoms into six bras until BINGO!

Maryanne most likely has grandchildren my age. She should be enjoying a carefree retirement. Instead, she spent her day groping me. I think we're dating now.

By the time Maryanne and I had come to know each other intimately, The Duchess was bored with a capital B. She was tired of rummaging through my purse and trying on every lip gloss I owned. I'd promised her that we could spend some time at the cutesy rubbery outdoor playground in the courtyard of the mall. So now of course, she was a duchess possessed. I told her that I wanted to try on a few shirts and then we would go to the playground. The Duchess had other ideas.

I'd made the mistake of not wearing my newly purchased bra out of the store. When I'd picked a few shirts to try on and locked myself into the dressing room, I realized that I would need my bra on in order to tell what the shirts really looked like. I began the ritualistic contortions of putting on the bra when my shoulder said, "Oh, HELL no, Girlfriend!" That was the beginning of the end of my shoulder cooperating with me in any way.

Being the brave shopper that I am, I continued to try the shirts on that I'd selected. Every time I'd finally manage to get one on, I'd ask the Duchess, "What do you think?" and she'd say, "I hate it." So cute coming from those shiny lip gloss coated lips! Not.

I left the store with a throbbing shoulder and a shattered sense of confidence. The Duchess was really giving it to me good. Next stop, cutesy rubbery playground.

After tuckering herself out and then hitting the Disney Store for the new Pinocchio doll, I thought The Duchess might be up for hanging with me while I tried on a couple more shirts. I thought wrong.

Two shirts later and a hundred snarky remarks by The Duchess, I was ready to go. I was in true pain now and not on speaking terms with my four year old. As soon as we hit the car, she informed me that she was now hungry. It was 4:00. Crap.

I hit the drive through at Chick-fil-A where as usual, while placing my order over the speaker, The Duchess yelled, "And tell them I need Polynesian sauce!" I retrieved her order, handed it to her, ensured that her earphones were on, and turned on the radio. Two minutes later I looked in the rear view mirror and she was out like a light.

By the time I got home it was almost 5:00. We usually eat between 5:30 & 6:00. I was exhausted, sore and lacked any motivation whatsoever to cook a meal for Grumpy and Snotty.

As it turned out, Grumpy and Snotty were more than happy to forage through the pantry and fridge to find their own dinner. By this time The Duchess was awake from her little nap and happily chowing down on her nutritious chicken dinner. (You're judging me again, aren't you?!)

Mr. Right called at 6:00 to let me know that he was just leaving the office. Well, crap. I was hungry. I looked in the fridge and was delighted to find the Jello Jigglers we'd made last night. Neon blue ones. (What fruit is neon blue?!) I downed one or two...okay...three. Realizing it would be shameful to have Jello Jigglers as a meal, I opened the pantry and decided upon the ever so healthy meal of Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries. I poured myself a Jethro Bodine sized portion and made quick haste of emptying the bowl. I put my bowl in the dishwasher and headed to the living room to relax. On the way to the couch I passed by the bowl of Easter candy and swiped three packs of Smarties.

I think this is where I slipped into the coma.

Tomorrow I'm staying home and going bra less. I'm going to make real food for The Duchess and I'm going to try to eat a vegetable.

Then I think I'll call Maryanne and try to let her down easy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Days of Whine & Roses

Medical professionals think the rest of us are idiots. Sure they've spent years studying and working ungodly hours as interns for laughably low pay and wearing ugly shoes, but c'mon! None of these things justify treating me as though I'm a simpleton. (Maybe having to wear ugly shoes does. That can really ruin your day.)

Almost every time I've had to have an I.V. the nurses look at my arm and say, "Oh, my! You have tiny little veins!" I respond, "Uh huh. Don't try to put it on top of my wrist. You'll never get it." Apparently this is the equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet and spitting in their eye. They immediately dive at my bony wrist with their evil silvery needles and proceed to jab at my veins. If you've never had someone try to put an I.V. into your wrist bone, you're really missing out.

Saturday morning when I was being prepped for surgery, I had to endure this scenario again. I ended up, at the nurse's request, helping her by holding medical paraphernalia in my good hand while she focused her full attention on torturing my veins. After failing to find the vein in my wrist and leaving me with a lovely puffed up bruise, she begrudgingly moved up my arm and stuck me on the inside of my elbow, making it impossible for me to bend my arm even slightly.

Mr. Right and my four year old, The Duchess, joined me in the room and were sitting by my bed waiting for me to go into surgery. As usual, once the nurses spotted The Duchess, they came over to ooh and ah over her and struck up a conversation. When they discovered that as soon as I went into the operating room, Mr. Right was going to take The Duchess to McDonald's for breakfast, Nurse Jabby leans down and whispers, "Make sure you wash her up really well when you leave here. This place is FULL of germs!" Wow. That didn't freak me out at all.

As they wheeled me into the operating room, I looked around and said, "Wow. This is the first time I've been awake in the actual operating room." That's the last thing I remember. Lights out. I have a special place in my heart reserved for anesthesiologists. They honestly deserve $1,500 bucks for a half hour of work. Really. Do you want to FEEL them cutting you open? I think not.

My next memory is of waking up in post-op shaking violently and feeling like a truck was parked on my collarbone. I had to stay there for a little while because apparently I was having difficulty breathing in a manner that was satisfactory. Surgery is like a really bad carnival ride.

I always hate having to take prescription pain medication. I don't know how addicts do it. Heavy duty drugs make me mean and hateful and I do funny things when I'm looped. Besides the fact that they help kill the actual physical pain, I can find no redeeming qualities in pain killers. I took them for two days and then opted out. I've been medicating with anti-inflammatories and ice packs. This has alleviated the problem of feeling like I'm chronically dazed and I no longer hold cups up to my face like I'm drinking when there is no cup in my hand. (That Nancy Reagan really knew what she was talking about. Just say, "NO!")

The scale says that since my surgery, I've gained five pounds. *&%$#@*! How can THAT be?! Actually, from Saturday morning...pre-surgery, to Sunday morning...I'd gained five pounds. Five pounds in one day?! This might make one think that as soon as I came home from surgery, I began inhaling boxes of Twinkies, but I assure you this is not the case. This is so frustrating!! Now I'm in pain, incapable of any real physical activity, and a freakin' fatty. This is so not fair.

On the bright side, the flowers above were sent to me by my mother-in-law and father-in-law on the day of my surgery. Nice, huh? A beautiful little basket of sunshine to help me remember that I'm thought about and that I have much to be thankful for.

So, despite all of the godawful unexplained weight gain, the icky soreness, and the general grumpiness, I know that I'm a lucky girl. A whiny, lucky girl.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Does This Cape Make Me Look Fat? the day I go under the knife once again to have all of the "hardware" removed from my collarbone.

It's 12:23 a.m. and I'm wide awake. Even though I stuffed my face with a hamburger and fries for dinner and followed it up with a vanilla cone dipped in anxiety from Dairy Queen, I've convinced myself I'm hungry just because I've been told I can't eat after midnight. My stomach knows it's not getting anything for the next thirteen hours or so and it is so not happy about it. (My stomach needs therapy. It has some real issues it needs to deal with.)

I wish the metal in my shoulder would have made me bionic. How cool would that have been?! I so wanted to be the Bionic Woman when I was a kid. Who knew that as an adult, I would be faced with the sucky reality that stainless steel plates and screws don't give you super powers, they hurt like hell!

I've tried to think about what super power I'd like to posses. (See how intellectual I am?) I don't think I'd like to be able to hear things like the Bionic Woman did. I'm already uber paranoid and think people are talking about me. If I actually had to hear what they were saying about me, OH MY GOSH. My part-time vodka hobby would become full-time sedation.

Maybe super vision? No....not that. I already have this horrific ability to catch people in my line of vision at the very instant they choose to do something absolutely disgusting. I will be minding my own business, rocking out to Journey in the car, casually look out my window and BAM!! The yahoo in the bigass redneckmobile next to me, yaks a giant wad of tobacco and brown saliva out of his window. *gagggggggg* This makes not only NOT want super vision, it makes me want to jab my eyes out.

Is knowing which way North, South, East and West is, a super power? Now that's one I could really use. Sometimes I fantasize about being one of those people who possess the super ability to actually know where they are at any given time. *sigh* Unless you tell me, "right" or "left", I have no idea which way to turn. I can find my way only if given directions like, "When you come to the red barn with a goat out front, take a left..." I rely heavily upon a snazzy GPS system. Unfortunately, it has no idea where I am because a few months ago, this entire town didn't exist. I have a pet name for my GPS. I call it Piece of Crap. At least when I'm within a ten mile radius of my non-existent house.

It's probably way too much pressure to have a super power anyway. Who needs that? I suppose I'll settle for being super sarcastic, super neurotic and super obsessive. My four year old tells me that I'm, "Super Duper Uper." That works for me.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"I'm Sorry You Feel That Way" and Other Things My Mother Said That Sent Me Into Therapy

Maybe I'm just a sensitive soul, but I seriously think that when you're fourteen and your mother tells you that when you walk it looks like "two goats trying to fight their way out of a gunnysack," you have a bit of a reason to take it rather personally.

Another fantastic line my mother used to throw out was, "I'm sorry you feel that way." I didn't realize until much later in life that this was not an apology. This was actually the ultimate non-apology. Saying, "I'm sorry you feel that way" is a way of fulfilling the obligatory apology due someone when you've made them feel bad, without accepting any of the responsibility for your part in it. Damn, she was good.

As insecure teenage girls often do, I would put an outfit on before school and ask my mother, "What do you think? Does this look good?" She would, without fail, give one of two responses. Number one: "Do you like it? Because if you like it, that's all that counts." In psycho language, this translates as, "I hate it, but if you want to leave the house looking like that, then go for it."

Number two: "It looks nice, but you need a scarf. Or, maybe a brooch." I'm not exactly sure what this translates to. All I've ever been able to figure out is that she wanted to see something tied securely around my neck and wanted me to get my ass kicked at school for wearing something called a brooch.

These were the more subtle jabs in her repertoire. One of my favorites...and by favorites I mean one that still affects me to this day and which I've spent an obscene amount of time in therapy discussing, is this one:

Me (In my newly purchased miniskirt and top): "Do you think this looks good? Do you think I look okay in it?" (spinning around for her to see)
Mother (thoughtfully selecting her words): " thing's for sure. You wouldn't blow over in a stiff wind."


Cake anyone?